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Thread: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

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    Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Long story shortened: bought house, pool mess & me newbie, must. algae, dump pool guy, blind shock-lots of bleach (more than you think), swg on max, 1 week later - pool clear, looking good, tf-100 arrived today.... Not good.

    FC 7.5
    Cc 0
    TC 7.5
    CH 1375!!!
    TA 210!
    CYA 40
    Salt 4000
    PH ~8.0 (test strips)

    I'm pretty sure I did the tests right and even re-did the CH. I will recheck again tomorrow. But if it is right, I'm at a loss on where to start getting things fixed. MA? What is the recommended order to tackle this?

    Despite these levels, Is it safe to swim? My son's birthday is in 2 weeks and he wants a pool party. Is that going to work?

    Also the psi is reading almost 40! I'm going to clean the DE and put in a new pressure gauge this weekend.

    Thank you in advance for your help!
    -Steve
    33K gal & spa, IG plaster, DE-36inch Pentair FNS plus, Century 2 speed pump (3450/1725 RPM, 1.5~.19 HP, total HP 2.21, SF 1.47, SF Amps 10.0/1.6), booster pump, Spa blower, installed >15 yr, Intelichlor IC60 SWG, Hayward Phoenix suction cleaner, TF-100


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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    You need to get the pH in check quickly. Head to Home Depot and get the two gallon box of 31% MA, it's about $11 here. Use poolmath to dose from 8.0 to 7.5. Let the pump run for 30 minutes then re-test pH. This will bring your TA down as well but we don't need to worry about TA until later.

    Any idea how the CH got so high? Was the PO(previous owner) using cal-hypo to chlorinate? The only way to get rid of it is to replace water or have someone come in to filter the water using reverse osmosis.

    Once you have the pH in check it would be a good idea to perform the OCLT(overnight chlorine loss test). After that, you'll know if you need to continue a SLAM.

    Welcome to the forum, btw!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also, just pitch the test strips! Use your TF-100 for all your testing. You can use the K-1000(small blue case) to test your pH and for the presence of chlorine but use the FAS-DPD test(R-0870 powder and R-0871 drops) to find your actual FC and CC.
    26k Gal IG vinyl, Hayward Super 1HP, Hayward Pro Series S244T Sand Filter, TFTestkits TF-100 w/ Speedstir
    Links: TFPC for Beginners / ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry / GETTING STARTED / PoolMath / SLAM / TFTestkits / Chlorine/CYA Chart

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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    First thing you need to do is get that pH down to 7.2. You'll likely be battling pH rise for a while because you have a SWG (they aerate water as it passes through, which is a source of pH rise). You also have elevated TA. Higher TA means faster pH rise with aeration. Just continue to use muriatic acid when your pH rises ABOVE 7.8, lower it to 7.2. Over time, this will bring down your TA.

    The CH is very high. You likely got to that high CH because you were using cal-hypo based powdered shock? The only way to remove CH is drain/refill. However, you can manage high CH for the rest of the prime swimming season, which I'm guessing is into November for you??? Here's the approach for that. If you plug your current values into Pool Math: http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html you'll see that you're CSI is greater than +0.6, which means you're at risk for scaling conditions. If you lower your pH to 7.2 with everything the same, then you're JUST below 0.6 (depending on pool temp). If you can keep on top of your pH, trying to keep it low (7.2 - 7.4) for a while, your TA will come down. If you plug in 60 for your TA, you can see that even at a pH of 7.8, your CSI is less than +0.6. The high CH is manageable, but you've got to get your TA down to do so. This will also slow your pH rise from the SWG.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    What does your water look like right now?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Wow! Thank you all for the quick and awesome feedback!

    OK. So PH first and OCLT.

    How it got that way? I have no idea what previous owner/ pool guy was doing. I'm guessing pool voodoo (I found bottles of yellow algaecide, a pool Rx mineralizer in the pump basket, and the DE filter has not been maintained)

    How does the pool look? Since I shocked with bleach last week it has steadily improved. Now looks clean and clear. Not cloudy. Not yellow.

    The kids want to swim!!! Nobody commented on whether we could use the pool on it's current state. Obviously not within a couple hours of the MA. But otherwise, is the pool open this weekend?

    Thanks everybody!
    -Steve

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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    If the pool is clear, the pH is between 7.2 to 8, and chlorine is above minimum for your CYA and below SLAM level, it's safe to swim.

    My recommendation, since the water is clear, and the littles want to swim this weekend, you should be ok using muriatic acid today to adjust the pH (use PoolMath to find the dose to go from 8 to 7.5, then after half an hour or so with the pump running and a little brushing retest, and adjust again if needed since the pH may actually be OVER 8), swim over the weekend, and perform your OCLT on Sunday night to see if you need to SLAM next week.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
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    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    It is safe to swim if the following 3 criteria are met:
    FC is at or below SLAM level for your CYA and at least the minimum FC for your CYA level
    PH between 7.2 and 7.8
    CC is 0.5 or less
    you can safely see a person if they end up at the bottom of the pool
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Have you cleaned a DE filter before? If it's been neglected you'll want to do a real cleaning which involves taking it apart and soaking the guts overnight and then rinsing and putting it all back together. Can you set your pool to just recirculate the water so you can run the pump but and not be using the filter?

    Pool School - Maintenance and Cleaning of Pool Filters

    goggle shows me a replacement grid for your DE filter. It's just like mine. You'll want to rinse it real good with a hose with a narrow nozzel on it, all the nooks and crannies. It will probably be NASTY. Then soak it per pool school (i use a plastic trash can i bought just for this). You might want some lube for the o-ring on your filter as well as an additional o ring you'll see at the very top inside when you disassemble.
    18'x43' Sport Pool
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    High CH levels are just a fact of life here in So. Cal. The Fill water has quite a bit (depending on your water co. it varies throughout the year). Everytime you top up the pool you add more CH. My CH goes up about 200ppm per year.

    High CH, High TA and an SWG is an annoying combo. The TA will constantly push you PH up - the SWG contributes as well. This will cause scale to form in your SWG fairly quickly.

    Once you have a handle on FC levels and feel comfortable with the pool it's worth considering your options - basically drain and refill or reverse osmosis - to get the CH down. To help manage the SWG it's worth being aggressive about lowering the TA levels. Add enough acid to lower the ph to 7, wait for it to get to 7.5 and then lower it again. Rinse and repeat - the TA will lower a bit everytime you do that. If you can get the TA down towards 60 you'll be much better off. After that keep your PH low (7.2) as best you can.

    Again - all of that is about managing High CH with a SWG. It's not the "standard" TFP numbers. My CH level is 1200 with a SWG and these numbers work fairly well.

    I would guess your SWG is caked with Calcium and not working very well at the moment. It's worth inspecting.


    Pool Party - go for it. Keep your FC levels correct and the PH in range and you are good to swim. TA and CH pose no issues with swimming at all.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Well, it is a couple days later after dropping acid

    I've put together a spreadsheet to track my values. A couple things are surprising to me:
    1) How variable some readings are esp. my CH and salt. (as a newb - I'm thinking it might be operator error with the testing)
    2) How different the results are from Leslies

    So you can see where I am now. The kiddos had a great time swimming. Unfortunately, I never had time to replace the pressure gauge. The PSI is still reading 40 but varies btw 30-40. It actually went down to 30 when I was doing the bleach SLAM. I expected it to go up. Not sure if it is busted but it is old, discolored and hard to read so I had bought a new one with my TF-100 kit.

    I also never had a chance to clean the DE filter but I thought I might wait to see if I needed to SLAM again. Doing the OCLT test again tonight. (My wife did the AM measurement wrong last go around).

    I'm concerned that the FC level seem to be steadily dropping and the SWG (intelichlor) does not seem to be able to maintain FC even on the Max output. I cleaned it out with MA two weeks ago. It had been gunked up but now looks clean and in good shape. When I went out tonight to unplug it for the OCLT, the red light was flashing red - low salt, machine off. Testing shows salt level at 3000????! I can't be that far off on my measurements because as a double check I had it run by Leslies also. This is the first time the light has been flashing since I started the bleach SLAM on the 18th.

    Any suggestions?
    -Steve

    Here is the spreadsheet summary of my recent tests:
    Date 8/13/16 8/18/16 8/25/16 8/28/16 8/28/16 8/28/16 8/29/16 8/30/16
    Leslies Leslies TF-100 TF-100 Leslies TF-100 TF-100 TF-100
    K-1k Cl >5 >5 >5
    K-1k Br >10 >10 >10
    K-1k pH Leslies 8.0 7.5 7.5 7.6 ~7.7
    FC (dr x 0.5) 0 0 7.5 7.5 4 6.5 5
    CC (dr x 0.5) 0 0 0 0.5 0.5
    TC 0 0 7.5 7.5 4 7 5.5
    CH (dr x 25) 400 450 1375 850 400 950
    TA 120 120 210 170 110 160
    CYA 70 60 40 45 40 60
    SALT 3100 3200 4000 2800 3300 3000
    Comment Must. Alg. before 11 bot. bleach after 11 bot. bleach after 8 cups MA PM OCLT AM OCLT invalid PM OCLT
    Phosphates Leslies 300 0 0
    33K gal & spa, IG plaster, DE-36inch Pentair FNS plus, Century 2 speed pump (3450/1725 RPM, 1.5~.19 HP, total HP 2.21, SF 1.47, SF Amps 10.0/1.6), booster pump, Spa blower, installed >15 yr, Intelichlor IC60 SWG, Hayward Phoenix suction cleaner, TF-100


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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    It is best it ignore anything from Leslies comparing the results will lead to confusion and frustration. You don't have a bromide pool, so you can ignore the "BR" on the K-1k. You also don't need to do the "CL" either since you are doing the powdered based FC (FAS-DPD). The powder based FC test is much more accurate.

    Getting a speed stir will help improve accuracy since it swirls the water for you and you just have to concentrate on the drops.

    Here is a link to the extended test kit directions just to make sure you are doing the tests correctly: Pool School - Extended Test Kit Directions

    1. The first order of business is adding some more MA to get your PH down to 7.2. Your TA is high which will make your PH rise faster. A SWG will naturally increase PH over time and having a high TA will make it rise even faster. We can address the high TA later as is the lowest priority for now.

    2. Getting the OCLT results is the next thing that should be completed.

    3. The CYA test is the most subjective and one of more important things to get a handle on since your target FC levels will depend on it. You need to do this in full sunlight with your back to the sun, vial at waist level and holding with two fingers. The trick to is to pour to 100, glace at the dot, pour to 90, glance at the dot, etc. until the dot disappears. If you are unsure of your results, you can pour the solution back and forth between the bottle and vial. A second set of eyes won't hurt either. Once you get a good reading using the methods described here, no need to keep retesting unless you replace a large amount of water like backwashing several times or every month in case you have a lot of splash out.

    4. The CH test can be tedious because it is so many drops and the speed stir would help you get a handle on it. CH level is important to keep your SWG from scailing and the protect your pool surface. It is also a lower priority. Generally high CH leads to a high CSI. To manage your CSI Here are some key details from the extended test kit directions:
    Hold the dropper bottles vertically and squeeze gently, so that drops come out slowly and seem to hang on the tip of the dropper bottle for a moment before falling.
    Sometimes you have to wipe down the tip of the R-0011L and be careful that you don't add these too quickly because the size of the drops can be too small.
    Continue adding drops until the color changes to something more or less blue. If the sample turns purple see the note on "fading endpoint" below.
    Continue adding drops as long as the color continues changing. The final drop, that does not change the color any further, does not count.
    If the sample starts to turn blue and then goes back to red/pink and stays there from several more drops this is also a "fading endpoint", see the note below.

    Are the salt readings coming from your SWG? If so, the SWG display value can fluctuate based on the temp of the water. My cell displays two values, one is real time salt level which will constantly jump around and the other is a average salt reading.

    Let us know when you have OCLT results. You can skip the TA and CH testing for now.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Quote Originally Posted by kcindc View Post
    It is best it ignore anything from Leslies comparing the results will lead to confusion and frustration.
    +1 on that!
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    @kcindc - Thank you for the help.

    All readings are from the TF-100. I mentioned that the SWG was flashing red indicating "low salt, system off" because I'm concerned that it is not working. Does that mean it will not be generating Chlorine today? I saw in another post that they had to 'recalibrate' their generator.

    The morning TC reading was 4.5 so it dropped 1.0 from 5.5. So it looks like I'm in the clear from algae right?

    Using pool math I get the following recommendations
    to reduce pH - add 115 Oz MA
    To increase CYA - add 88 oz by weight of stabilizer (HTH from Walmart)
    To increase salt - add 55 lbs of salt

    Does this look like a good plan? Would you do them in that order or can you do them together?

    Pool math Goal values
    FC - 5.0
    pH - 7.2
    TA - 60
    CH - 400
    CYA - 80
    Salt - 3200
    33K gal & spa, IG plaster, DE-36inch Pentair FNS plus, Century 2 speed pump (3450/1725 RPM, 1.5~.19 HP, total HP 2.21, SF 1.47, SF Amps 10.0/1.6), booster pump, Spa blower, installed >15 yr, Intelichlor IC60 SWG, Hayward Phoenix suction cleaner, TF-100


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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    You can add the acid to reduce PH by pouring into the pool near a return. Test PH 30 minutes later to confirm that it is 7.2.

    Immediately after the acid you can put the CYA in a sock and put the sock in the skimmer or hang the sock in front of a return (wait 30 minutes if you hang it in from of the the same return that you added the acid). Give the sock a squeeze a few times a day.

    30 minutes after adding the acid you can add the salt. Make sure you brush the salt so that it doesn't sit on the pool floor.

    Generally you wait 30 minutes between the time you add any chems.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    20160905_081456.jpg
    I had a minor setback when I added water to the pool and forgot to shut it off (that's going to cost me!). I also saw a mild resurgence of mustard algae so I'm back to slamming.


    I dropped the pH, increased the cya, need to add more salt.


    But I finally tackled the DE filter! It was really gunked up! Not sure when the previous owners last maintained the filter but I'm guessing it has been a while.


    I was getting pressures around 38. I put on a new pressure gauge and it still read around 27. After I cleaned the filter it is around 8!


    I'm guessing the filter was causing me a lot of problems all around. Circulation and jet flow improved significantly. As did skimmer and cleaner suction. No more air in the filter pump! The DE filter may have been harboring algae as well. Hopefully slamming with a clean filter will resolve the algae issue.


    Doing 24 hr yellow mustard slam now at FC of 38 (Cya is 60). It looks like the minimum FC for yellow mustard is 9. Is there any rule of thumb for how long to keep the FC at 9 after slamming?
    33K gal & spa, IG plaster, DE-36inch Pentair FNS plus, Century 2 speed pump (3450/1725 RPM, 1.5~.19 HP, total HP 2.21, SF 1.47, SF Amps 10.0/1.6), booster pump, Spa blower, installed >15 yr, Intelichlor IC60 SWG, Hayward Phoenix suction cleaner, TF-100


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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    You might want to reopen the filter and check to see if you see any debris coating the outside of the grids or assembly. The picture you shared looks like you have crack or tear somewhere. The tiniest crack or tear will cause the DE to escape from the inside of the grids to the outside. If this happens, you need to replace whatever is broken.

    Sounds like you need to SLAM to get rid of the algae: Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Quote Originally Posted by kcindc View Post
    You might want to reopen the filter and check to see if you see any debris coating the outside of the grids or assembly. The picture you shared looks like you have crack or tear somewhere. The tiniest crack or tear will cause the DE to escape from the inside of the grids to the outside. If this happens, you need to replace whatever is broken.

    Sounds like you need to SLAM to get rid of the algae: Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    That's how mine always looks before a clean minus the stuff on top of the one pictured. If the de is introduced into the inside of the fins, that should be where the dirt gets trapped. I've never thought about it.
    18'x43' Sport Pool
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    The outsides can and do get dirty, but amount on the outside of SilverSD's filters looks suspicious and definitely worth a check after running for a few hours.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    Quote Originally Posted by kcindc View Post
    You might want to reopen the filter and check to see if you see any debris coating the outside of the grids or assembly. The picture you shared looks like you have crack or tear somewhere. The tiniest crack or tear will cause the DE to escape from the inside of the grids to the outside. If this happens, you need to replace whatever is broken.

    Sounds like you need to SLAM to get rid of the algae: Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    I stand corrected! The dirty water flows from the outside of the grids to the inside of the grids.
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

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    Re: Help! Thrown in the deep end...

    CYA ........... Min FC3 ..... Target FC ...... Yel/Mstrd Min ...... Shock FC ..... Yel/MstrdShock
    60 ............... 4.4 ............... 6.8 .................... 9.0 ................... 23.7 ................ 34.92


    I'm still wondering about the minimum FC level after a shocking. I have seen post suggesting maintaining the pool at a higher FC for a period of time. Is this the Yel/Mstrd Min (15% CYA or 9 for me)? And how long do you maintain it at that level?

    Also, on an unrelated issue. after the heater my return line has a diverter valve before the SWG. The diverter can be set to pool only, pool and spa, or spa only. However, the SWG is on the pool return line so when the diverter is set to spa only the SWG has no flow. Is this normal/by design? why? I'm just curious because in the evening we often will have it set up just for spa use but then there is no chlorine generation.

    Another question I have... here in southern Cali, we don't have to 'close' the pool but we likely wont be swimming for a few months. Nevertheless we will still want to have the spa available for use. How would you change your maintenance in that situation. Do you still have to actively manage the pool chemistry when you are only using the spa?
    33K gal & spa, IG plaster, DE-36inch Pentair FNS plus, Century 2 speed pump (3450/1725 RPM, 1.5~.19 HP, total HP 2.21, SF 1.47, SF Amps 10.0/1.6), booster pump, Spa blower, installed >15 yr, Intelichlor IC60 SWG, Hayward Phoenix suction cleaner, TF-100


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